Press Release: NRMP Report Shows 2018 Appointment Year Fellowship Matches at Record High

More than 8,700 fellowship positions were filled through the NRMP Specialties Matching Service.

Washington, D.C., February 8, 2018 – The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) is pleased to announce the release of “Results and Data Specialties Matching Service, 2018 Appointment Year”, an annual report of physician Fellowship Matches conducted by the NRMP Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®). The SMS 2018 appointment year was the largest on record: 10,778 applicants competed for 10,149 fellowship positions that were offered by 4,357 programs. At 89.1 percent, the match rate for U.S. allopathic medical school graduates was the second highest rate on record for the SMS.

“Interest and participation in subspecialty training continues to grow,” said NRMP President and CEO Mona M. Signer. “Since 2014, the number of applicants seeking positions has increased by 16 percent. The number of osteopathic graduates showed the greatest increase at 47 percent, and the number of U.S. allopathic graduates rose by 20 percent. This year, the number of non-U.S. citizen graduates of international medical schools, or IMGs, competing for positions increased by 5 percent, the second consecutive increase after a decline. Data from NRMP’s Fellowship Matches provide valuable insight into physician workforce trends, and we are pleased to make the report available to constituents and other interested parties.”

The report includes data on 63 subspecialties within 25 separate Matches conducted in 2017 and early 2018 for fellowship appointments beginning July 2018. Five-year trend data by specialty, a state-by-state breakdown of participating programs, and match rates by applicant type also are included.

Program Highlights

A new specialty, Breast Imaging, joined the Radiology Fellowship Match for July 2018 appointments. Other highlights:

  • Of the 10,149 positions offered through the SMS, 8,753 (86.2%) were filled.
  • Of the 4,357 participating programs, 3,403 (78.1%) filled all positions.
  • Of the 63 participating subspecialties, 33 filled 90 percent or more of the positions offered; 20 filled less than 75 percent.
  • The most competitive specialties among those that offered at least 30 positions were Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Gynecologic Oncology, Hand Surgery, and Pediatric Surgery. All filled at least 95 percent of the positions offered, and more than 80 percent were filled by graduates of U.S. allopathic medical schools.
  • The least competitive specialties were Medical Genetics, Geriatric Medicine, Pediatric Rheumatology, and Pediatric Infectious Diseases. All filled less than 60 percent of the positions offered, and less than 40 percent were filled by U.S. allopathic graduates.
  • Nine specialties offered at least 30 positions and filled at least 98 percent: Pain Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology, Pulmonary Disease/Critical Care Medicine, Rheumatology, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Colon and Rectal Surgery, and Surgical Oncology.

Applicant Highlights

  • Of the 10,778 applicants who submitted a rank order list of programs, 8,753 (81.2%) obtained positions.
  • The number of active U.S. allopathic medical school graduates totaled 6,002, a 4.1 percent (236) increase over 2017.
  • The number of active U.S. osteopathic medical school graduates totaled 1,100, a 9.3 percent (94) increase over 2017.
  • The number of active U.S. citizen graduates of international medical schools (IMGs) totaled 1,326, a 4.9 percent (68) decline from 2017, the first decline on record.

View full Match report and infographic

The NRMP Match
The Match uses a computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with the preferences of program directors in order to fill training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals. Research on the NRMP algorithm was a basis for awarding The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2012.

About NRMP
The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®), or The Match®, is a private, non-profit organization established in 1952 at the request of medical students to provide an orderly and fair mechanism for matching the preferences of applicants for U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors. In addition to the annual Main Residency Match® for more than 42,000 registrants, the NRMP conducts Fellowship Matches for more than 60 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®).